Thu 03 October 2019

Julie says everything happens for a reason

Particpant Julie McAvinney shares her pivotal moments & how Next Chapter training has put a fire in her belly

"I took a very big brave step in June 2018 and left my career as a Creche Manager after eight years.  I was very proud of my achievements however, I felt it was time for a change.

I heard myself saying statements like:
“I don’t need a career anymore, really women can’t have it all, and the children are losing out.   I was in a lucky position to be able to take time out and focus on my family. So surely, I should be happy with that?”
“One of my best decisions was joining The Next Chapter," explains Julie McAvinney. "I have met this group of AMAZING women that are now also great friends.”

I joined The Next Chapter project not really knowing what I was joining.  I was involved in community groups, but that first morning I thought “Oh dear, I’m in above my head here, thank God I don’t know anyone! People will think I want to be a politician.”

I am a very active committee member in Belturbet. The Next Chapter filled me with ideas, as to how I could network better within the community and get things done.  I have a can-do attitude, and the Next Chapter really fuelled my “can-do” more!

Photo: participants from Cavan Chapter, with Julie McAvinney (centre)

The Next Chapter has given me a new outlook. I have met an amazing group of women, who I now call my friends.  We are all from different backgrounds, very creative, and we are all very empowering women. We have all moved forward with plans for the future. That is definitely down to the capacity building training from The Next Chapter.

For me pivotal moments were
  • All of the training, especially ‘Developing a Powerful Voice’
  • Bronagh Hinds as a facilitator for training Module One ‘Women as Champions of Peacebuilding’ and Module Two ‘Decision Making, Politics and Public Life’ - she put the fire in my belly!
  • Going to the Dáil - now that has sparked something that I’ve been trying to ignore!
  • Coaching sessions with Gordon - Gordon has made me dig deep and learn to not block my path with old fashioned thinking. 

I am now looking for a new career, there is very much a need for me to be out there, trail blazing! They say things happen for a reason. One of my best decisions was joining the Next Chapter. I am empowered to move forward into the future.

Thank you Next Chapter!"

Thanks to Julie McAvinney, Cavan Chapter Member, for taking time to write this article.
The Next Chapter project is run by Politics Plus, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Community and Voluntary Association and Irish Rural Link. This project is funded by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding for The Next Chapter project is provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.